PG&E customers receiving bills late (glitch in billing system)greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Posted at 2:10 a.m. PST Tuesday, December 28, 1999
PG&E customers receiving bills late
Utility blames glitch in billing system
BY STEVE JOHNSON Mercury News Staff Writer
About 25,000 PG&E customers in the Bay Area and elsewhere in Northern California haven't received their most recent bills -- or have gotten them up to four weeks late -- because of problems the utility is having with its new billing system.
The new computerized system was installed in August to help Pacific Gas & Electric Co. handle bills for customers who switched to competing energy suppliers under a new state law that went into effect March 31, 1998.
Under that law, which deregulated portions of the energy marketplace, new suppliers can choose to bill their customers through PG&E. But that arrangement has added a complexity to PG&E's system -- which tracks 8.5 million customers -- that has resulted in many bills being sent out two to four weeks late, according to Al Janz, a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. official working on the billing problem.
``We expected it to take about two months to work our way through the debugging (of the system),'' Janz said Monday. But the problem ``has been a little bit more persistent. . . . We haven't found all the errors yet.''
The glitch -- which Janz said has not resulted in anyone having their power turned off by the utility -- should be fixed in the next few weeks. In the meantime, he said, customers who haven't received their bills on time should call PG&E at (800) 743-5000.
This isn't the first time that PG&E's billing system has been faulted for failing to keep pace with the deregulated energy market. An administrative law judge complained in May that despite $80 million in upgrades the company's billing system was so backward that it ``suggests considerable mismanagement on the part of PG&E.'' PG&E officials have called that criticism unwarranted.
-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), December 28, 1999
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), December 28, 1999.